CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -
Crews are working feverishly to finish up their last minute Riverbend preps in downtown Chattanooga
Riverbend officially kicks off Friday night, June 5. Hunter Hayes, Martina McBride, Greg Allman and 3 Doors Down are just a few of this year's big headliners. The lineup is sure to draw in large crowds.
Before you go looking for the nearest beer stand or ATM, officials want you to know about emergency exits and the first aid stands. Injuries happen every year, officials say most are not severe but getting to you quickly may not always be easy.
"We're in the process of setting up now we'll have multiple first-aid sites there...we'll have multiple crews out in the crowds," said Ken Wilkerson, Director of Emergency Medical Services of Hamilton County.
Wilkerson tells Channel 3, with 450,000 people coming through the gates of Riverbend each year, accidents and injuries are bound to happen.
"You can never anticipate what might occur but we plan ahead based on previous years," said Wilkerson.
EMS crews learn from each year and this year's tents will be the best equipped yet. They have the same gear as an ambulance from band-aids to heart monitors and stretchers.
"We regularly practice mass casualty disaster, the types of drills from an event like this," said Wilkerson.
On average EMS crews at Riverbend treat about 50-100 patients, each year.
"We see the normal crowd disturbances, disagreements among people, we'll have falls, accidental injuries and the normal medical situations like heart attacks and stroke," said Wilkerson.
The most common injury is simply "over-doing it." When you have large crowds, tight spaces, heat and alcohol in the mix, water is vital. Officials say 75% of Riverbend patients are treated for dehydration and heat exhaustion. Last year Riverbend ran out of Band-Aids, first reponders say there were too many blisters to count.
"Please drink plenty of water or sports drinks when you come to Riverbend, wear comfortable loose fitted clothing and don't wear brand new shoes," said Wilkerson.
Chattanooga Fire officials tell Channel 3, Fire Marshals will be out this week to check for fire hazards and to make sure all kitchen grills are up to code. In addition, Chattanooga Fire officials say they will have 1-2 fire engines parked close by each night - to decrease their response time. Each medical tent will have free drinking water.